National Social Catechetical Training Centre, Jessore (N.S.C.T.C.)

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Official name National Social Catechetical Training Centre, Jessore (N.S.C.T.C.).
Country / Continent Bangladesh / Asia
Director of the institute Fr. Pio Mattevi, s.x. (Xaverian Missioner).
Legal holder of the institute The Khulna Catholic Diocese, Khulna, Bangladesh
Sponsor of the institute CBCB, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Bangladesh
Year of foundation 1937
Number of staff (employees, freelancers, volunteers) 7
Staff members of your institute Presently and for 20 years only one Xaverian.
Contact Hazrat Borhan Shah Road

Jessore 7400

Bangladesh

Tel: 0421 – 68908

Mobile: 0171 – 2238623

nsctc@khulna.bangla.net

nsctc@btcl.net.bd


Contents

Particulars of your pastoral institute

Official name

National Social Catechetical Training Centre, Jessore (N.S.C.T.C.).

Director of the institute

Fr. Pio Mattevi, s.x. (Xaverian Missioner).

Legal holder of the institute

The Khulna Catholic Diocese, Khulna, Bangladesh

CBCB, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Bangladesh

Vision / mission statement

Preamble: “Up to 1975 the Catechetical Program functioned under some guideline; but since after independence this came to be called “Bangladesh Catechetical Commission”, and a short form of Constitutions were adopted in 1975. Similar the Biblical Apostolate has been carried on through special Committees or programs. In the reorganisation of the Episcopal Commission and organization in 2003, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Bangladesh combined the catechetical and biblical apostolate as one Commission, calling in the “Episcopal Commission for Catechetic and Biblical Apostolate” (EC-CBA) – (Constitution adopted in 2004)”. Official Address: Episcopal Commission for Catechetic and Biblical Apostolate (EC-CBA) – CBCB Centre, 24/C, Asad Avenue, Mohammadpur, Dhaka – 1207, Bangladesh.

Aim and Objectives: “The Commission aims for a Christian community truly conversed with the Word of God and with the teaching of the church towards a more mature Christian Life.

Main areas of work

The aim and objectives and activities of the Commission are:

To assist in the over-all catechetical and biblical apostolate of the Church in Bangladesh;

To see the fruitful implementation of the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” (translated into Bangla – published 1999, and Catechetical Directory 1997? Also translated into Bangla (published – 2003), this should be worked out and presented as a National Directory for Bangladesh);

To promote and draw up programs on catechetical and biblical matters (GDC – 1997);

To promote and facilitate doctrinal and moral formation for the life of the faithful;

To promote catechesis for children, youth and adult;

To help Diocesan Catechetical/biblical Commission or similar body to implement relevant programs;

To see and assist in the implementation of instructions regarding catechetical and biblical norms of the church (Constitution of the EC-CBA 2004);

To organize training on catechetical and biblical (and social) matters in general for the faithful;

To see, to translation, publication and distribution of the bible in local languages;

To compose, translate and circulate catechetical and biblical books and literature and other materials, tools and to give approval to these;

To conduct training in catechetic and on the bible for Catechists and formators;

To offer and conduct courses/seminars for catechetical, (social) and biblical formation;

To provide a catechetical directory for the Church in Bangladesh;

To provide syllabus on biblical and Doctrinal matters and issue official “diploma”: as needed;

To act as advisory body for the National Social Catechetical Training Centre, Jessore.

Something is missing, the Local Church in Bangladesh, from this ‘Constitution’ is not yet clear on “Evangelisation”: No mention of “Catechumenate” and Mission ad Gentes. (Constitution EC-CBA 2004).

Addressees of your work (course participants[1])

Those involve in Catechesis, Social workers, Biblical formation groups (biblical apostolate), among them: Catechists, Teachers, Sisters, Priests, Social workers, Laymen and laywomen for various pastoral and social awareness.

Year of foundation

1937, actually working from the 1960s …. And as it is now from 1988. There was a period of long transformation, from Diocesan Social Institute for the 1960s to the National Social Catechetical Training Centre, (Independence 1971) with one structure building 1973 and with the present extension of facilities from 1988.

Organisational structure of the institute

The first stage was to take care of the educational catechetical and social problems in the village. The Catechist was the key-person in the village: He was running a school as needed, looking after the Christians, and also a leader in the village for social work with the people. The second stage, the institute became bigger (1988) and for the use of the other Dioceses, it became National Social Catechetical Training Centre, Jessore, under the ‘National Catechetical Commission’. At this stage more staff was required: at the beginning we had 4 Xaverian Priests (qualified in Liturgy – Fr. Ernesto Luvie), Bible (Fr. Gianni Martoccia), Catechesis (Fr. Marcello Storgato). Islam-dialogue (Fr. Francesco Zannini). All well organized for a good job. Lately Fr. Marcello and a local priest Fr. Albino Sarker remaind at the NSCTC. The need for a couple of sisters was felt for the women.

Number of staff (employees, freelancers, volunteers)

I took over at the end of 1992 from Fr. Marcello Storgato, s.x. and I worked with Fr. Albino Sarker, who had some experience at the National Training Centre, but he was still unqualified. My training was at the EAPI in Manila (1974-1975). I worked in a High School (St. Paul’s – 1968-1973) and I worked also in two parishes, St. Joseph’s Khulna and Bhabarpara for over ten years. In May 1993 two Sisters of the Holy Cross, Sr. Bruno, csc (American, qualified in Edn) and Sr. Agnes Rozario, csc (still a Student – local), joined the Staff.

We had as workers Mrs. Joseph Biswas at the computer for editing ‘Mongolbarta’ and various catechetical aids and booklets. Fr. Marcello was publishing the only catechetical review in ‘Bangla’, ‘Nuton Asha’ for a few years and then ‘Mongolbarta’ (1991) which we published for over 20 years (till now). Mr. Daud was at the distribution and selling desk. Mr. Komol Costa, and after Mr. Sontosh Mondol, took care of the translations in Bangla.

We had also a domestics for the kitchen, cleaning, garden and others. They were under the supervision of the Sisters. Holy Cross Sisters taught classes about basic biblical knowledge and especially about the teaching methodology for the Teachers and Catechists.

Staff members of your institute[2]

Presently and for 20 years only one Xaverian.

Qualifications of staff members of your institute

See No. 9 and 10.

Questions relating to the work of your institute

What pastoral options do you feel obliged to?

There has been a development from a Diocesan Catechetical Pastoral Centre to National Centre. After Vatican II, we have the course (road map) already set. Our work was to implement and break down to the believers, what the Vatican Council gave us. The Vatican II, tells us what kind of Church we should become. With much delay in the Vatican II Documents (16), were translated and published into Bangal (1990). The Catechism of the Catholic Church has been translated into Bangla (published 1999). In Liturgy, we had ‘for the Catechists’, the first liturgical book with Sunday Readings and Prayers (Probhur Din – 1993), we had the first Catholic Bible, the “Jubilee Bible” in Bangla (2000). The General Directory for Catechesis (1997) in Bangla has been published in 2003. The Second Catholic Bible ‘Mongolbarta’ in Bangla has been published in 2003 (India). The compendium of the CCC, translated in Bangla has been published in 2008 (India). The NSCTC, published a series of Catechisms from C1.I. to C1.X. (2006) in Bangla. These Catechisms are also printed in Kolkata, 2012, W.B. in Bangla. The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church (2004), has been translated in Bangla and published in 2010.

These are the only few basic books which have been provided, with the advise or/and funding from the National Social Training Centre, Jessore. Mainly we tried to bring to the Local Church what was available and the benefits coming from the Vatican II, through a long and difficult journey. The road map has been clearly defined from the start.

What are the pastoral focus areas of your institute?

Bible, Vatican II, Catechism, Liturgy and Social Principles – local culture, social teaching of the Catholic Church. With all these the teaching methodology (experiential – anthropological methods) for Catechists and Teachers. Catechesis comes before the pastoral work.

What pastoral aims does your institute pursue?

Create christian and social awareness in the family and community,

Instruct in the Christian Faith, Liturgy, Morals and Prayer (Biblical Apostolate). Our people should live in peace with the others. We want to promote good relations with all people.

What pastoral services does your institute provide?

We printed a series of books to help people (through the catechists – teachers) to be able to help to learn and acquire what is needed for the ordinary Christian life in the community. We insist on Christian family formation, catechesis for all groups especially adults, Bible prayer.

What pastoral processes have you initiated or accompanied recently?

Presently the NSCTC is under the Episcopal Commission (national) EC-CBA. The Commissions have no power; everything needs the approval by the Bishop. The Bishop of Chittagong Most Rev. Patrick D’Rozaria, csc, (now Archbishop), in 2007 wrote a letter to all the schools, boarding, and pastoral groups to teach the Catelettes (in Bangla – catechism for children and youth C1.I. to C1.X. and so they did and it works well). See report ‘Mongolbarta’ No. 5 (September-October, page 42ff). No other Bishop did the same. We print and supply the catechism booklets.

What does this mean for the areas of catechesis, deaconry and liturgy?

Here according to the culture nobody is ‘qualified’ to have an ‘initiative’ without the approval of the ‘authority’ (the Bishop, the Parish Priest …). If the Bishop does not ‘command’ the Priest may stay idle … without blame. The Bishop should ‘lead’ the Catechesis, the Liturgy, the Pastoral and Social awareness … in his Diocese.

What notion of God inspires your work?

As a missionary we preach Christ the Lord and our aim is to establish his kingdom on earth among all people. Actually we need to bring the message that is human and divine, directed to all aspects of human and spiritual life. We need to build the Church and a more just society, where all are seen and accepted as brothers and sisters. We need to stress all the human values so that everyone may become ‘more human’ to be able to meet Christ as Saviour and Liberator and Redeemer.

In how far does Christian spirituality shape your work?

Our faith in Christ Jesus is calling us to open up to brothers and sisters of other continents and tell them that God created us all equal and we need to meet and love each other. Human encounter and sincere love is the basis, and talk to them about the great love of the Father of Jesus, of God. If we sincerely love when we talk to people they will listen to us and to what we announce, our faith in the Lord.

What processes do you use or develop to analyse reality? How are these elaborated and how are they linked to pastoral care? How do you pass these processes on?

The first missionaries in the fifties reached the pure gospel (kerygma) and they had some good results and baptized those who believed. With the time we realized that people ‘did not change inside’. We studied their culture and religion the caste system and realized that there was a long way to go to ‘really’ help people to change their mind for good. As we continue the ‘old tradition – which in the meantime has passed on to the locals we did not yet find a new approach to real and effective ‘evangelisation’. We take still care ‘pastorally’ of our Christians and minister to them. In the future gradually, things and mentality will change, but very slowly indeed. It will be all the fruit of a process of which we might not see the end.

What prophetic approaches does the institute put into practice with a view to shaping society?

The change of society is worked out by all, we ourselves cannot do much, we are a small minority. We help by offering what we have, Christians have, their faith, their worship, their morals, their Holy Writings, social changing in life. This ‘change’ mostly will be for those who become Christians, much much less for all the others as Christ told us to do.

What does the work of the institute involve exactly? (Framework conditions? Publications? Courses? Lectures? Congress?...)

We saw that the last thirty years this institute develop into a small but functional institution. From 1988-1989 we have the possibility of hosting 120 people for short gatherings (like the Pastoral Diocesan Meeting of the Diocese of Khulna – like the High School Teachers – like the Primary Teachers for the last years, once a year).

Publications: We publish  “Mongolbarta” bi-monthly catechetical magazine in Bangla since more than 30 years … We also published books in Bangla: bible, bible commentaries, among others the four Gospels, Acts, letters of John, Introduction to the New and Old Testament, various booklets on the Bible (teachings), Life of Saints, Encyclicals, booklets of the Catechism, a good number of catechetical and biblical aids … well over one hundred publications in Bangla. For this work we have a Xaverian, full time, staying in Dhaka, Fr. Silvano Garello, s.x. (He worked more than twenty years and he is our publisher).

Courses: We have a. 5 small courses, 12 one week courses and 1 (3-month-course) for new Catechists. Since a few years we dropped a 1-month course for women – lack of participants.

Lectures (out-reach): When requested, we also go to any Parishes or other Institutions for short courses on various topics …

Congress: We did not go for anything big, which requires a big amount of money

What magazines, periodicals, books, manuals, work aids, methodological instructions etc. does your institute publish?

In answer to this please go back to No. 11. ‘Publications’. I may add that for every course we are able to give the participants one Mongolbarta magazine or a book on the subject we teach.

What do you consider to be the most important service of your institute?

We try to reach the Parishes, Schools, Teachers and Lay leaders with the Mongolbarta magazine.

We published books and Catechetical aid of various kind, and posters, and Religious Songs, with Cassettes and CDs. And make then available in Jessore and Dhaka.

We teach various religious topics, see 11 ‘Courses’ and when asked we also go to different places of the country out-reach.

How do you evaluate the work of your institute?

We say that we worked hard for over 30 years to do what was possible as per the circumstances we were in and the limits in personnel and means. Liberation, new country and new experiences.

What are the most important developments that you are dealing with at present?

Pope Benedict XVI published his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation ”Verbum Domini” (The Word of the Lord – November 2010). With the Synod we started to hear a new action word (motto): “New Evangelization”. We are sent again as a re-newed Church to preach the Word of God – of The Risen Lord with a new strength from the Holy Spirit.

This can be seen also as a sign of the times … we lament that our faith should become stronger and stronger, and that we should insist in listening (praying) the Word, in doing the Word, and announcing the Word in the Church of today and announce to the others so that they may also know Christ.

I believe it is the right time to take into consideration the proposal of the Biblical Apostolate in our Parishes and Sub-Centres and Institution to form biblical groups who listen, meditate and put in practice (do) the work of God, and I think at the beginning the Lumko method would be appropriate …

What are the main difficulties your institute is confronted with in its work?

When we could afford very few books and catechetical aids, we felt that it is because of this that people (Priests, Sisters, Catechists, Teachers, Laymen …) are not much interested, but it is not only that, we see even today that same ‘little’ interest. We need ‘fire’ inside to move towards our brothers and share our faith and service. We feel to have reached a moment of ‘stasis’ (lack of activity). We need to move on.

What challenges do you perceive for your institute at present?

See o. 15. The New Evangelization is for us, our last challenge. We have two catholic Bibles in Bangla, Jubilee bible and Mongolbarta Bible used in Liturgy. We have enough biblical aids to start all over Bangladesh. We have also a person Fr. Emmanuel K. Rozario, Professor in the Major Seminar, qualified in the bible as ‘in Charge’ of the Biblical Apostolate (nationally). We started last year, 2011, to find out that we have no funds for our project not even for a 2 days’ meeting at the national level for 50 people.

This year in January (2012) we had a course at the NSCTC for future members of Bible groups in Khulna Diocese. In April 2012 we had the refresher course for the Diocese of Khulna Catechists on Bible and Biblical Apostolate. Other activities of the Biblical Apostolate are going on in other Diocese. This in going to be our work and challenge of the next years. We have some funds for the SSCTC (about 50%) subsidy from Rome) but we have no funds if we want to begin with the Biblical Apostolate project. Such a project should be done by each Diocese, to start with the Biblical Apostolate and the project will be run by a Diocesan committee (There are seven Dioceses in Bangladesh). We could help by providing the facilities we have and the teaching aids about the Bible.

What hopes, dreams and visions do you have for your institute?

I worked here for 15 years (in two periods) a long experience the fruits would be seen by those who come after. I hope this institute will continue in the future for a few years more, because of the need of Catechists who work in the village, with sufficient formation and a strong faith so that the Christian community may grow strong in Faith. I have no dreams, hard work is needed and faith in the Spirit. Visions …. We might be going through some crisis and we need fidelity and being close to our Christians in many way. I believe we tried to put the basis for a future work …

To what extent does your institute support laypeople in the Church and in society?

Our Institute has an informal character (non academical) we accept those who are Matriculate or even a little less. We run formation courses mostly for laypeople (one week), on different topics like basic Bible (Introduction) like Faith, Liturgy, Morals, Psalms, Prayer, Retreat, Social awareness, social Teaching of the Catholic Church … All these help them to understand better the pastoral work of the Church.

How do you communicate your experiences and results to the respective local church, to neighbouring local churches and to other addressees (e.g. institutions affiliated to you)?

We send to all Dioceses and Parishes and other Institutions concerned of Bangladesh one copy of our yearly program in December for the following year.

One month before the course takes place we send again to all a reminder and this for all the formation courses which we name ‘national’.

We also send a report for special courses: like the Catechists for refresher course and retreat-assembly.

We send report and evaluation for the ‘Three-month-course’.

To what extent does cooperation with the Bishops’ Conference of your country or with your diocese take place?

The NSCTC, Jessore is under the Episcopal Commission EC-CBA (Catechesis and Biblical Apostolate). We have a Managing Committee with Members from all Dioceses (7) we call two meetings a year with agenda and financial reporting, including the budget. Moreover we participate to the annual reporting of the Secretaries of all the Episcopal Commissions to the CBCB in February each year. We give special communications to the Bishops.

What linkages/networks are in existence at national level?

We had a website for the NSCTC but it was stolen (after three years, Oct. 2011) and I could not re-instate it ever since. In the future I hope to start again in Bangla with programs, Mongolbarta magazines and the list of books available (in West Bengal they used the site also: ‘Bangla’).

What linkages/networks are in existence at international level?

We have none because so far we had requests only for Bangla language service.

What kind of interreligious cooperation does take place with non-Christian religions?

There is an Episcopal Commission for Dialogue. We have courses on Dialogue (Muslim and Hindu) but we are not very involved now, though we printed a couple of booklets on Dialogue (in Bangla).

What kind of ecumenical cooperation does take place with non-Catholic churches?

It is very much like No. 24. The work is done by another Episcopal Commission.

Which theological mergers/associations are you affiliated with (personally or as an institute)?

I personally have no relations, but Fr. Silvano Garello, s.x. is in touch with many in Italy and elsewhere.

How can we assist you with your intercontinental exchanges and with exchanges between the continents?

The fact is that I myself am not aware of that is available for us here. Many times we belong to another world. Suggestions to us could help.


  1. It would be interesting to know among other things whether course participants are active at parish, diocesan or supra-diocesan level and whether courses are attended by priests, religious or laypeople.
  2. It would be interesting to know among other things whether the staff members of the institute are priests, religious or laypeople.